Local News

Eastern Piedmont Under Severe Weather Watches, Warnings

Posted September 4, 1999

— The remnants of tropical depression Dennis continue to drift slowly west across north central North Carolina, causing severe weather throughout the the eastern Piedmont. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the northeast Piedmont, including the Triangle area, the northern coastal plain and west central coastal plain, until noon.

About 8 a.m., Dennis was on the Virginia border, north of Greensboro. Heavier rains will move up the eastern seaboard as the day wears on.

Patchy rain and maybe some thunderstorms down east are on tap as Dennis clears out.

Tropical Depression Dennis dropped steady rains over portions of Central North Carolina. Four to 6 inches of rain fell over a wide area.

The main threat for flooding is along the smaller tributaries feeding into the larger lakes and rivers, the National Weather Service reports.

The National Weather Service also issued flood warnings for the Neuse and Tar rivers due to heavy rains caused by Dennis.

The most immediate concern is along the Neuse River in Clayton, where the river was expected to crest between 10 and 11 feet Sunday night.

The flood stage is nine feet. Minor flooding is expected. The Neuse is also expected to surpass flood stage late Monday in Smithfield and on Friday in Goldsboro.

On the Tar River, Rocky Mount should see a crest of more than 17 feet on Tuesday. Flood stage is 15 feet. A few riverside businesses could see some problems. Tarboro should have minor flooding Thursday.

The National Weather Service also reports that Crabtree Creek in Raleigh was in flood at 10 p.m. in the vicinity of Wake Forest Road. All points on the creek have had minor declines in water levels over the past few hours, in spite of persistent rains.

In Raleigh, the rain and wind damaged cars and homes, and made conditions very dangerous for drivers.

Ronald Smith learned the hard way why it is so dangerous to drive on flooded roads. His engine on his Ford Bronco cut off as he came down the Hillsborough Street exit from the Beltline.

Firemen rescued Smith and his passengers from the Bronco and another woman from her car. Both drivers ignored the orange cones that marked the road closed.

"If the police department or Highway Patrol has a road marked off, heed it and go with the other direction because the water's deeper than it might seem," says Sgt. Jeff Mullin of the Raleigh Fire Department.

Another car parked off Wake Forest Road was submerged in four feet of water Sunday afternoon.

Strong winds toppled two 100-year-old trees in Five Points. One crushed a car, another went through the roof of Clayton Hunter's home.

"It's really sad," he says. "We thought they'd live forever. They survived Fran."

Raleigh police say all of the city's roads are passable right now, but motorists should be cautious. Flooding along small streams will continue to be in jeopardy of overflowing their banks throughout the area. andMichelle Singer

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